by The People’s Minister of Information JR
Tyrone Trapper was born in Los Angeles and raised in West Oakland. After being traumatized by the murder of a close friend in the streets of Los Angeles, he decided to turn the pain into something constructive, and he started work on his adult cartoon series, “Cadlac Tom.”
With murder being so prevalent in the Black community, we need to learn how to break the cycles of violence against each other and learn to put something more positive in the atmosphere rather than more bloodshed, more funerals and more children without parents. I salute Tyrone Trapper on his entrepreneurial spirit, on immortalizing his loved one and for turning his pain into gain. Check him out; a lot of us can learn a thing or two from him.
M.O.I. JR: What inspired the Cadlac Tom cartoon?
Tyrone Trapper: The idea to tell Cadlac Tom’s story was first hatched in LA on Trinity Street. Me and the homie “Awol Tallcuz” were discussing over a blunt and a game of dominoes what subject would make a good motion picture film. The conversation lead to how the Trinity block used to be in the ‘90s and all the real homies who once lived there.
Of course we ended up reminiscing about those of us who were no longer here. The big homie Chris, Trouble and Tom Tom, one of my closest friends in LA. As we talked about Tom Tom, the light bulb lit up in Awol’s head as he said, “Tom Tom would make a hell of a movie.” To Awol this was just Trinity porch blunt talk, but to me I was taking the entire subject seriously. I had to give this careful consideration.
I concluded it was something Tom Tom would agree with after recalling the last conversation I had with Tom Tom. It’s strange, but Tom and I were so close that weeks leading up to his death I couldn’t shake the feeling that the grim reaper was stalking me. The feeling was so real I tried to make peace with everyone I was at odds with by calling or going to see them. I made sure my life insurance was paid up, and finally I confided in Tom Tom what I was feeling.
Tom Tom told me I was tripping. Then he and I talked about how we would want to be remembered after our passing. I don’t remember what I said about after I go, but I remember what Tom Tom said. Tom Tom said he never wanted anyone to forget him, especially his girl Cee Cee and his sons.
After we had enough of the subject, we turned up DJ Quik and continued riding northbound up Sepulveda Boulevard in Tom Tom’s blue Cadillac. I asked Tom Tom if he was coming to Hollywood with me that night like he often did. He thought about it and then declined. He dropped me off at my car and that was the last time I saw my friend alive.
I got the call from Trinity at the top of the next morning that my best friend was killed hours after me leaving him. I dropped the phone, fell to my knees and cried like a baby. That feeling the reaper’s presence wasn’t for me. He was there for Tom Tom.
Reflecting on this I came to the conclusion this would be something Tom Tom would appreciate, but I still didn’t have the resources or budget to take on a film project. So I wrote the dialog, sent out casting calls nationwide and immortalized my patna in this animated web series Cadlac Tom.
As we talked about Tom Tom, the light bulb lit up in Awol’s head as he said, “Tom Tom would make a hell of a movie.”
M.O.I. JR: Who was the real Cadlac Tom?
Tyrone Trapper: Cadlac Tom was more commonly known as Tom Tom from Eastside 43rd Street San Pedro Gangsta Crips. He was larger than life, standing about 6 feet tall, heavy set. He wore a Jerry curl, jewelry on both hands, wrist and neck, and always had money.
I gave him the name Cadlac one day when he came riding up the block in his blue Cadillac with the knock in the trunk. Tom Tom and I were neighbors as teenagers and this is how we became so close. He liked hanging with me because I didn’t claim an LA set. When he wasn’t with me, he often returned to Trinity with stories of moving through gangsta shit and a few times had bullet holes in his car to prove it.
Cadlac Tom was more commonly known as Tom Tom from Eastside 43rd Street San Pedro Gangsta Crips. He was larger than life.
Tom Tom was a real one, but even though he was a Crip and was down for his set, I don’t remember seeing him happier than when the Bloods and Crips tied their flags together in May of 1992. Except for the birth of his son, of course. Tom loved peace but stayed ready for war until he wasn’t ready.
M.O.I. JR: What is the cartoon about?
Tyrone Trapper: Cadlac Tom is inspired by actual events. Names are changed and events are rearranged to protect the innocent. It’s the story of how, living in a gangsta culture, you can become a victim of circumstance.
It’s about the choice to either hold or fold. It’s about the mutual appreciation between a ride or die chick and her man. It demonstrates an example of how to conduct yourself if you ever catch a case (get charged with a crime). It also introduces several spin-off characters with their own background stories.
Cadlac Tom includes adaptations in order to bring the story up to date. After writing the original version, I felt some kind of way about one of the scenes depicting Black on Black violence. Not sure how to change it, after all it was going to have to be Black on somebody violence unless I used monsters or aliens.
I decided to see what the world would inspire. Sure enough, there it was on the news: the church massacre in the Carolinas.
M.O.I. JR: Why did you make it an adult cartoon?
Tyrone Trapper: The story was what it is. It’s just that I did it in animation first before I take it to film.
M.O.I. JR: How has the public responded?
Tyrone Trapper: I notice the Facebook page is getting likes from other countries – people I wouldn’t think could relate to a story from the East Side of LA. Actors and actresses hit my inboxes all the time asking how they can be cast in Cadlac Tom. As to date, I only saw one thumbs down on the YouTube channel, but I’m sure that’s from someone who didn’t make the cast, and I look for inspiration from different parts as adult movies and other services like zoomescorts.co.uk.
M.O.I. JR: What are you currently working on?
Tyrone Trapper: I’m currently seeking a manufacturer for the Cadlac Tom apparel line. Also I help promote my cast members through social media whenever they do shows and events as much as I can
M.O.I. JR: How could people keep up with you?
Tyrone Trapper: By liking the Cadlac Tom Facebook page. Also any of the following:
- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTLn54I-D_ikEfPX8TNBtDQ Cadlac Tom
The People’s Minister of Information JR Valrey is associate editor of the Bay View, author of “Block Reportin’” and “Unfinished Business: Block Reportin’ 2” and filmmaker of “Operation Small Axe” and “Block Reportin’ 101,” available, along with many more interviews, at www.blockreportradio.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.